Warrior Poet, Columcille ~ Light of the North Who Brightened the West & Inflamed the East

In sixth century Ireland approximately one third of the population were poets. As Saint Patrick died c. 493 another Irish champion was on the rise: Columcille (also known as Columba), whose life is remembered this month (he died in June 597). He came from a line of kings who had ruled in Ireland for centuries and was himself in close succession to the throne. He was raised by priests, and in time renounced his rank to become "a religious" (a friar). By his mid-20s he had founded several … [Read more...]

Yes, I Can’t Find My Glasses

When I was young -- meaning inexperienced, myopic and shallow -- I remember passing a knowing look to my sisters when my grandmother, yet again, lamented that she couldn't find her glasses. Her glasses! Her glasses! The world stood or fell on my grandmother's not being able to find her glasses. How we laughed.I'm not laughing now. I lost my glasses at work today in a job that demands that, well, I must see. I worked at Staples, in the Print and Copy Center, and this job requires that I … [Read more...]

There Is a Reason King David Was a Man After God’s Heart and It Is Not What You Think

As a member of a coterie of journalists who cover religion, I have been confounded by the moralizing in print this presidential election season has elicited from journalists and thought leaders. Christian journalists and pundits have either struggled to reconcile their finely-tuned moral sensibilities with a morally ambivalent candidate or they haven’t struggled at all about it and have instead called down unequivocal condemnation and scorn. Are Christians obliged to condemn moral imperfection … [Read more...]

Reflections on Life After Antidepressants

The main point I have wanted to make in this series of posts related to my discontinuation of antidepressants is this: It can be done. You will survive. Your body is working with you to recover. The last days of my third and final taper, nearly two years after I had made the first attempt, ended innocuously. Step by step I was slicing down my tablets until they became too small to slice. At this point I started skipping days: I'd take a sliver on a Monday and not take the next one until … [Read more...]

Third Try to Get Off Antidepressants: Success, at Long Last

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, I have been posting about the long and arduous journey I took to get off antidepressants. They had been prescribed for me by a general practitioner when I was experiencing a difficult passage in my life and, over time, had come to affect my health adversely. I made the decision to get off them but it was a long haul. This post addresses how, by my third attempt, I had learned some fundamental ways to broach the taper of these meds and how, by God's … [Read more...]

The Troubling Matter of Medical NonCompliance

by Wendy Murray In keeping with my posts this month -- Mental Health Awareness month -- I include below an account of an experience I had with a medical professional who proved unhelpful and even belligerent in my attempt to seek her help in withdrawing from my antidepressant. I have learned that this story is typical and many patients, like myself, contend with unhelpful doctors.  I want to be clear that, even as I write about my experience with this one professional, I also saw several other … [Read more...]

What SSRIs Do To the Brain, Making Them Difficult to Quit

(This series about antidepressants is posted during Mental Health Awareness month.) For some, the attempt to discontinue antidepressants is a life-or-death dance. Something in the brain of a person who is discontinuing sends alarming signals. Often these impulses leave one with the singular feeling of rage that focuses on the need to self-destruct or to destroy something or someone else. For those who are discontinuing, if during one of these rage-filled moments, they are lucky enough to cling … [Read more...]